Wednesday night, as the clock winded down on an exciting and physical Game 1 of the Detroit Red Wings / Nashville Predators series, Shea Weber lost his mind a little bit. The Predators' captain, who is one of the most respected players in the league, delivered one of the most blatant and intentional head shots you'll ever see in any sport.
Usually, a head shot can be disputed. "It was all shoulder!" "His head was down!" "He didn't follow through." Well, there is no defense for what Weber did. As the waning seconds ticked off the clock, Red Wings' forward Henrik Zetterberg chased a puck behind the net and hit Weber from behind. Weber then grabbed Zetterberg by the neck, then WWE style, slammed his head into the glass as if it was a turnbuckle.
The hit was dirty. The hit was indefensible. But don't tell that to NHL's Vice President of Hockey and Business Development Brendan Shanahan.
"This was a reckless and reactionary play on which Weber threw a glancing punch and then shoved Zetterberg's head into the glass," said Shanahan. "As is customary whenever Supplemental Discipline is being considered, we contacted Detroit following the game and were informed that Zetterberg did not suffer an apparent injury and should be in the lineup for Game 2.
"This play and the fine that addressed it will be significant factors in assessing any incidents involving Shea Weber throughout the remainder of the playoffs."
Interesting. I'm glad Shanahan will keep a close eye on Weber in case he does it again. This is the equivalent of a parent counting to 3 for a kid, and never getting to 3.
The NHL has a hard enough time with credibility. Today, Shanahan had the chance to do the right thing, and suspend one of it's star players for a playoff game or two. You want to send a message to the league's players on head shots? That's how you do it. Instead, Shanahan turned the other cheek, and fined Weber for the equivalent of $5 and a stick of gum. It's shameful to think that with the entire sports world watching...Shanahan chokes. Night one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs should be hockey's night to shine...instead it's another black eye.
The headshots will continue. The Red Wings will retaliate. Retaliations are what put guys in the hospital and out of the league. Just ask Todd Bertuzzi and Steve Moore.